#Celts and the Mad Goddess: A #Spellbinding #Fantasy Thrill Ride Through Time.

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Do you enjoy Fantasy, Celtic culture, Goddesses and Magic?  P.C. Darkcliff’s fantastic Historical Fiction is Sleeping Beauty and Faust all rolled up into one!

A young Celtic woman called RAWENA runs into an army of Germanic invaders. The soldiers pursue her, but she shakes them off and hides in a vast swamp. There she awakens the Goddess PANDEMIA, who has been sleeping for millennia. The meeting shocks Rawena, but Pandemia also wonders: she thought she wiped all humans out with pestilence.

Pandemia plots to destroy humanity to preserve other animal species. She wants Rawena to infect her tribe and spread the plague around the world. When Rawena begs her to spare her, Pandemia gives in… but she orders Rawena to bring another human to the swamp.

Rawena seeks GARUX, a tribesman she loves, hoping that he would catch a Germanic scout and bring him to Pandemia. That’s when she realizes that Garux loves her younger sister ARVASIA.

Mad with jealousy, Rawena kidnaps Arvasia and drags her toward the swamp. When Garux attacks her in the woods, Rawena stabs herself through the heart.

The Celts bury her, but Pandemia brings her back to life and makes her immortal. She turns Rawena into a pawn in a mad game: Rawena must unleash pestilence whenever somebody stabs her through the heart. If she doesn’t, Pandemia would turn her into an eternal rat and trap her in the swamp. The same fate would await Rawena if she let someone behead her or burn her to ashes.

Fearing that the Celts would burn her as an evil spirit, Rawena seduces ORTAVER, the Germans’ high commander, and asks him for protection.

The Germans overtake the Celtic town. They imprison Garux, who has recently become the chieftain, and enslave the tribe.

Four years later, just as the Celts start a revolt, Rawena dresses as a Germanic jailer to free Garux—and Arvasia sneaks into the prison and spears her heart. As a battle breaks out, Rawena crawls into safety. Pandemia mends her and gives her a month to unleash the plague.

Garux and Arvasia look for her all over Bohemia but cannot find her. The king refuses to help them; their druidess fails to reclaim Rawena’s soul. And the Germans plot revenge.

Pandemia tells Rawena that Ortaver and the remnants of his army have settled in an abandoned Celtic village. Rawena joins them there and infects Ortaver with her pestilential blood. Just before he dies, Ortaver spreads the plague among his men.

The Celts corral the Germans and contain the outbreak, but Arvasia falls gravely ill. Although she fears it’s the plague, it’s only morning sickness. Garux and Arvasia rejoice about the pregnancy. Then Arvasia miscarries.

They corner Rawena and are about to behead her to prevent her from causing another outbreak, but Pandemia rushes to save her. Before she takes Rawena away, Pandemia tells Garux and Arvasia that their baby died of the plague. And that she made them immortal to witness Rawena’s work of doom.

Garux and Arvasia swear they will not rest until they destroy Rawena and defy Pandemia. 

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BIO

When he was in kindergarten, P.C. managed to convince his classmates that his grandma was a tribal shamaness. Then he learned his letters, and kidding his friends no longer seemed adequate—so he started to write.

Apart from Celts and the Mad Goddess, P.C. has published two standalone novels and an anthology. His short stories have been featured in various publications.

He has lived in six countries and on three continents. Although ruinous to his bank account, the seminomadic lifestyle has been hugely inspirational, and many of his adventures have spilled into his stories. He and his wife have settled in southern Spain, where he goes swimming and cycling whenever he isn’t too busy writing.

Join his VIP reader list to get his debut novels for free!

Find him everywhere on social media in one click

Website

PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon  OR  Other ebook retailers
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I would like to thank P.C. Darkcliff for sharing his amazing story with BnV and WMM.  (Word Mongery and Musings!)  It’s always a delight to share new books by new authors : )
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~Morgan~

#Dystopian #DarkFantasy #AmazonBestSeller Misericorde is #FREE

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#Dystopian #DarkFantasy #AmazonBestSeller Misericorde is
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Ingrid

Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2020

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~Morgan~

Jaspar the Amazon Parrot – An #Interview with a #YABook #ChildrensBook #Writer

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Jasper is no ordinary parrot.

He lives in the rainforest, which secrets he’s eager to explore. Jasper loves his home and his family, and he’s also in charge of his younger brother Willie – a responsibility Jasper takes very seriously.

When he meets Charlie – a spider monkey with a penchant for food and a laid back attitude – he realizes he’s in for an adventure he never thought possible.   Even if this means getting into danger and worrying his mother to no end.

Exploring the boundaries of the forest, Jasper understands that there is more to the world around him. Who are the strange new creatures that have come there? With Willie and Charlie by his side, he will soon find out.

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Sharon C. Williams is a native of New England and was raised in Northern Maine. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, son and a flock of birds.

Sharon has a B. S. degree in Chemistry. Plus, an A.S. degree in Biology and in Math. She loves to read, sketch, take pictures, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. She is a budding bird watcher, and knits on the side. She is a huge sports fan of baseball, basketball, hockey, and football. She is also a shutterbug and is always looking for the next big shot.

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Hi Sharon…let’s dive right in, shall we?  Tell us what do you love most about Writing? I love the freedom it gives me. You can write about anything you want. All one has to do is look around, feel or do a picture or word prompt. Literally all I have to do is be observant. Making things up out of thin air is magical. I guess it is hard to explain the love I have inside when I write. Perhaps only other writers might get it. It’s pure joy. It’s just hard to explain but yes, pure joy.

I entirely understand!  How did you get your start writing?  My husband had told a friend of mine earlier that he felt I wrote well. Upon her telling me this I thought to myself, “Why not?” I started seriously writing in the Fall of 2009. I had a story in my head that would not let me rest. Having two surgeries at the end of 2009, non-related, gave me a lot of free time to put to paper the story.

What Inspired you to write your book? I started with the idea of writing a book for any future grandchildren I might have. Thinking on  what kind of story to even begin with I literally looked around my house. I was hoping for something to hit me in the face.

Laying my eyes on him it hit me. Jasper. You see I live with my main character. How many people can say that? He is our Amazon Yellow Cheek parrot who we rescued and adopted in 1999 at the age of five.  Knowing I could use my knowledge of birds it just meshed together for me to connect the dots.  Learning about where he is from, the Amazon rainforest, made me want to write about the issues there. Plus, I wanted to engage kids in entertainment and also educate them at the same time.

Pets are such a blessing…and in this case, not only to you! Thats awesome.  So, when you’re writing, are you a painstaking plotter or are you a discovery writer? I’m a discovery writer. I love letting my characters decide where my manuscript goes. I also don’t want to take the time to plot. I feel, as far as I am concern, that it restricts my creativity. I love to free style. Majority of my books have arrived from me free styling.

Although it’s often hard to select just one, do you have a favourite or least favourite character?   You’re right, it is hard. But I would go with my main character, Jasper.  This is do to the close connection and interactions I have with him. We rescued and adopted him in 1999 at the age of five. He has been with us for 20 years now.  He is truly a special animal. His personality and his mannerisms are all over this series. So you see I was already in love with him prior to writing the book.

Ok, that was kind of a gimmie.  How about tips for aspiring writers…what would you best advice be? Believe in yourself and your book. Sometimes you might be the only one who does.

I say that too, but it’s so true.  If you don’t love your book, who else will?  Besides your own, what types of books do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write? I grew up loving horror and mystery. That has not changed. I always been someone who love watching horror films and that just translate to books. Being from Maine I am fortunate to have the great one, Stephen King, in my mist. The genre I prefer to write in is a hard one to answer. I write in a variety of genres and they all excite me- children’s, (I’m known for this one), true life, comedy and action and adventure.

As a writer, but also a reader, is there a book you consider a must-read- and if so, why?   Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. In fact anything by him will help you in some way. I had never heard of writing a book in the way he breaks it down in such an effective form. I just about highlighted the entire book and earmarked the rest. His methods are simple but just so effective.

OK, here’s the hard one…at least, I think so…what is the hardest part of editing- grammar checks, reducing content, or something else? For me it would be grammar checks. I am too good at using past tense and the misuse of commas in my WIPs. But the real hard part is I hate to edit. I rather be writing away coming up with characters, plots and conflict than to take time and work on edits.    I am not one of those authors who edit as I write. I rather just write. So when it comes to this part of the puzzle I am filled with dread.

And just because ….Do you have a Mantra- a Quote you try to live by?  Love your book like no other. If you don’t love it why will anyone else?

I’d like to thank Sharon for sharing her stories about Jaspar with us.  The series sounds perfect for YA readers…or anyone who wants a smile of a read 🙂  

Please look for Sharon’s books on Amazon

Sharon’s Author Page

Goodreads

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~Morgan~

Shall The Dead Arise

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Based on Psalm 88:10 “Shall the dead arise to praise thee”

I was dead
Wrapped up in sin
Held back by doubt
Darkness was all around me
I could not see where to go next
I could not imaging getting free
God was quiet
I wondered if He even heard my cries
I felt so alone
So far away
Like a dead man in the grave
Stinking with sin
No hope
No future
No life
 
Then Jesus came
Commanded the stone be rolled away
And it was
Light flooded into the room
My sin exposed
My shame announced
Blinded by the light
I covered my eyes
I could not stand before Him
The sinless Son of God
I was not worthy to even approach Him
I smelled of death
I walked like death
Sin all over me
No power
No strength
Ashamed
 
Then He cried out
“Come Forth”
His power stood me up
His love started my feet to moving
Still wrapped in my sin
I could not hold back
I could not stay where I was
I had to come out
Out of that grave
Out of that sin
Out of that death
Into the brightness of His glory’
His mercy
His grace
Then He said
”Unwrap Him”
The bindings of sin started to unravel
I could feel the weight slip off of me
I could feel the freedom all over me
I was free
Free
Free from sin
Free from doubt
Free from fear
No longer bound
Basking in the light of His love
Drinking of the living water
Drawing from the well
No more pain
No more suffering
No more darkness
No more shame
 
Then I praised Him
I thanked Him
I gave Him all the glory
Shall the dead arise?
Indeed they shall!
They shall arise to praise Him
Arise to bring Him honor
Arise by the power of His mercy
His grace
His love
Shout His praise
Shout
The victory is ours
The stone has rolled away
The bondage is all erased
I am free!

For more Christian Poetry, please visit my blog at https://psalmistpetegardner.com

or visit my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/PsalmistPeteGardner

#Review My Books #FreeBook #Giveaway

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I confess, this is a blatant, no holds barred Invitation to Readers/Reviewers who find themselves interested in my books to provide a review in return for a FREE Ebook.   BooknVolume now has a new dedicated page (At the top of the homepage) to REVIEW MY BOOKS that I am sharing with all of you today.  Thank You for your Kind Support, For Any Shares/Reblogs you choose to Offer, and, if nothing else, for humouring me 🙂

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This page is information about Dark Fey and The Mercy Series for those who may be interested in providing a review of my books.  A FREE Ebook is available in return for an honest review.  My only proviso being, please post your review on your Amazon marketplace, Goodreads and your blog or website.

After looking through the provided information, if you find yourself interested, please contact me via the contact info at the end of this page.

Additional Links for Information about my books:
Cynthia A. Morgan Author Website

Creativia Author Page

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Ayla was discovered at a very young age to have an especially rare combination of gifts: empathic telepathy, discernment, and the gift of healing. She was dedicated by her parents to become a Guardian of Childfey and spent her young years in the seclusion of the Temple where she studied magic and the ancient rites; where she was taught about the mortal enemy of all Fey of the Light, The Reviled; and where she attempted to learn how to protect herself from the emotions and thoughts of others, although never successfully.

Gairynzvl is a Fey of the Light who was abducted by The Reviled at the age of seven and suffered the intentionally cruel process of neglect, abuse and deprivation is designed to turn childfey from the Light and twist them into monsters. Now fifteen years later, he is a Dark One. He comes in shadows and silence; lingering near Ayla and trying to communicate with her. After many months and while she is alone guarding a childfey, Gairynzvl crosses into her home, but he is also unlike anything she ever imagined a Dark One could be. Rather than opening a portal for his Legion so they may enter and take what they want; he commits an act of treason against his own kind and closes it; protecting her as well as the youngling in her care from their cruelty, but what he wants from her is just as terrifying and equally as dangerous as a full Legion of Reviled. Through her extraordinary gifts she listens to him when no others will; she touches his pain and discovers she cannot turn aside from helping him, but the conflict that unfolds is vicious and exceedingly costly, pushing them to their limits and forcing them to grow beyond them.

Dark Fey The Reviled is an epic fantasy filled with suspense, mystery, action, magic and romance. It shares the inspiration of positive hope; the resilience of love, and the power of forgiveness through a tale that is rich with beauty and horror alike.

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Gairynzvl risked everything to escape his captivity in the darkness, including committing an act of treason against the Reviled. Yet, in spite of the dangers involved and the very great risk of sparking full-scale war with the Reviled, Gairynzvl has an irrepressible need to go back into the darkness to rescue as many of the childfey trapped there as he can find. The success of his plan will hinge upon more than courage and military strategy; it will call upon the unique skills and magic of each individual who chooses to join his band of Liberators, and it will require a level of dependence upon each other for which few of them are prepared.  Their actions will test all of their limits, could easily divide loyalties, and will shake the foundations of everything The Fey of The Light have accepted as truth for thousands of years.

Slipping into the darkness through darkness is easy.  Escaping out again with terrified childfey is another matter, but if they are captured by the Reviled, the band of Liberators will pray for death long before it comes.  The risks are enormous and the possibility for success is doubtful, but the compulsion to do what is right and what is necessary is too great to ignore.

Inspired in part by the true-life events of the Lord’s Resistance Army or LRA, a rebel militant group in Uganda that commonly abducts children and forces them to commit horrifying acts of violence against each other and their own people in combat, Standing in Shadows reaches deeper into the darkness, but never strays entirely out of the Light.  Relating a tale of both fear and hope, the story allows readers to share Gairynzvl’s journey into a restored life; his challenges in making new friends and forging alliances, and the struggle to trust, rather than fear, those around him.

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Breaking into the Light relates the inspiration of Hope and the power of forgiveness through a tale that is brutally beautiful.

The Reviled are the enemy; merciless, untrustworthy.  They embody brutality and devastation.  The Fey of the Light have lived with these truths for millennia.  Daring to think otherwise invites tragedy.

Gairynzvl was a Reviled Fey and lived the riotous life of all Dark Ones; yet now he is rescuing younglings from the darkness.  The actions taken by him and his band of Liberators are fulfilling Ancient Prophecies and proving long-accepted beliefs to be inaccurate. Those who have lived in the Light all their lives, who enjoyed the luxuries of abundance, are suddenly faced with unavoidable questions.

How is Peace achieved?  Can Light unite with Darkness?

Will the Fey of the Light sacrifice everything to achieve that which seems impossible or will they turn their heads and ignore the shadows weeping all around them?

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It’s the year 2446, and the first three Horsemen of Revelation’s Apocalypse have ridden.
Pestilence, War and Famine have changed the world into a dictatorship ruled with an iron fist. Commoners have few rights, and liberty is a distant memory.
Before the final Horseman is released, the Archangel of Mercy – Tzadkiel – makes a bold plea, asking for permission to find even one human who remembers the meaning of mercy and compassion. He is given 100 years, until Death will sweep across the land.
Taking human form and coming to Earth, he finds a place ruled by greed, hatred and fear. With time running out and Death growing impatient, can Tzadkiel find what he’s looking for… and how much will he need to sacrifice?

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It’s the year 2446, and the final horseman of apocalypse – Death – is preparing to ride.

The Archangel of Mercy, Tzadkiel, has come to Earth and found the last merciful person among the callous human throng. Together, Tzadkiel and Lourdes escape to the French countryside, but are relentlessly tracked by a sadistic officer determined to control the Archangel and claim Lourdes for himself.

Forced to make choices neither ever anticipated, they discover more than simply how to survive. Yet while love blossoms, Death grows impatient. Unable to ride until released by the Archangel, he unleashes a calamity that will push them to their very limits. To succeed they will need more than hope and love.

They will need a place of mercy.

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Review Request 

If you find yourself interested in reviewing my books, please complete the following and I’ll reach out to you about delivering your free eBook 🙂

Note: Please only apply if you have time to read this FREE EBOOK within 30 days from date of receipt.

IMPORTANT: You will NOT be paid to write a review. Amazon does not permit reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment. Amazon accepts authors giving a free or discounted copy of their book up front in exchange for a review, whether it be positive and negative feedback. If you receive a free book in exchange for your review, you are welcome to say it was for a honest review.

Thank You Ever So for your interest in my books.  I shall contact you soon.

~Morgan~

 

 

 

Down on My Knees

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I could walk a million miles or swim a thousand seas
I could climb the highest mountain or explore the oceans deep
I could lift my hands in worship
Sing a worship melody
But the closest I can get you is down on my knees
 
I could feed a hundred thousand or set the captives free
I could help a man in trouble or cure a dread disease
I could give to the less fortunate
The blessings I’ve received
That would not draw me closer than being down on my knees
 
Down on my knees there is healing
Down on my knees there is peace
Down on my knees there are springs of joy
Down on my knees I’m set free
Down on my knees He will hear me
Every time I cry out in prayer
When I’m down on my knees for others
I can know He is always right there
 
Help me humble myself
Put my flesh in its place
Help me cry out to you
Down on my knees in prayer

For more Christian Poetry, please visit my blog at https://psalmistpetegardner.com

or visit my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/PsalmistPeteGardner

An Apology – WordPress Snafu #247643268787643213146467A or ID 10 T Error?

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My dear friends.  I want to apologize, whole-heartedly and with some chagrin.

I opened my dashboard today and discovered notifications in my FEEDBACK folder dating back to 2016….yes thats right 2016!!!  Sigh…….

Now, its very possible that these were delivered on time and I simply never noticed, but I can honestly say that I never noticed because, until today, there was never a notification that anything was being delivered into the folder….so I never checked. …..sigh….again.

The sorrow in my heart hurts.  I never meant to ignore you!  I will respond to each one of you…but please please know how sorry I am.    And that I’ll begin checking this folder regularly, whether or not there is a notification from WordPress that someone sent Feedback.

sigh…..I sit here shaking my head.  Please Forgive my ID 10 T error.

With appreciation for all of you!

~Morgan~

Master of Symphony – #Poetry of the #NaturalWorld

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Master of Sweet Symphony

Seraph of True Harmony

Beneath your twilight, gilded in green

Beyond Perspective
Irrelevant in-between

Master of Blithe Symphony

Elden Father of Tranquility

Resting quiet in the Peace of Yore

Silent in Reflection
Whispering more

Master of Luxurious Hush

Teacher of Mysteries, Lavish and Lush

Hidden within your velvet Memory

Wisdom Abandoned
Awaiting Discovery.

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~Morgan~
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Exceptionally Beautiful Photography by

Janne Eikeblad

Find her Here:  https://voiceofnature.tumblr.com/tagged/photography

Brimstone – #Poetry of Shadow and #Darkness in #ChallengingTimes

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Brimstone shades

in shallow reverie,

In hallow whispers of broken chimes;

They speak of days beyond our grasp,

of tendrils of moments encompassing the norm,

But what is the norm?

Where does such a word lead?

What prophecy does it speak

when the Lights fall and shades of dim gloom steal across our path?

Brimstone,

Lingering traces of echoing history,

Beyond the glimpses of imagining,

When time and trial and tenuous affection

for all we once knew and all we might ever know

come crashing down in calamitous peals

like tympanies of favored days,

now spiraling like blown out candles,

and all that once was Bright and Glimmering,

simmers in the cress of

brimstone

dark

and

cold.

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~Morgan~

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Image by:  iStockphoto/Evan Austen

Beauty in Words – #Motivational Thoughts on #Poetry and #Writing

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hades_and_persephone_2_by_sandara

Poetry is the Rhythmical Creation of Beauty in Words.
Edgar Allan Poe

Need anything more truly be said? And yet, since I have the inclination to natter, I shall attempt to agree, poetically.

And by agreeing to say that there is nothing worth saying that could ever be said, even in the starkest form, that is not, by some measure and in the generalist terms, some form of poetic entrancement. For if, in speaking or writing, we utter anything at all worth saying, it shall be remembered.  If something is remembered,  then, it can be considered remarkable enough to have made remembrance worthwhile, which leads one to the eventual conclusion that, if it is worthwhile to be recollected, there must be some form or nature in it that catches the imagination, sparks the well-spring of contemplation or illuminates musings.  Also that, being colourfully or creatively inspired is, in its most basic state, a creation of beautiful words that should be deemed poetry.

(excuse me while I gasp for breath!)

Having said as much, of course the opposite is also true and begs to be argued: that the inestimably horrible, atrocious and staggeringly inane is also imprinted upon our minds in a similar fashion as the most lovely sonnet or passing fair soliloquy.  To follow this particular train of rationale to its logical yet absurd conclusion, it must therefore also be considered a form of poetry; although some (including myself) would vehemently argue that such assaults on the psyche are hardly worthy of the title. Yet to be fair and even-handed it must be stipulated.

(Ok I promise, no more caffeine for me tonight!)

Alas, (and perhaps alack for me), and all those who call themselves Poet, to be mixed with such baser matter that we may, at some time and under some inexplicable circumstance, undertake to pen such phrases that I (and perhaps you as well) would never, willingly, undertake to read or promote.  Nevertheless, where there is one there is always the other.  Where there is Light, there is dark. Where there is Good, there is also Bad. (Where there is Chocolate, there is also Vanilla.) And although some may argue that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter (with which I should in most cases concur) I cannot in good conscience agree with the subsequent postulation that all poetry, despite its thematic structure or outpouring is, by its very nature, Beauty in Words.

Where does that leave us then? You may ask with that quizzical expression, yet again, upon your face? (which does tend to happen when I start whirling words)

I return to Poe, master (as I see it) of both sides of the poetic coin, who said: Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality. Edgar Allan Poe

And thus, by saying that there is always Light and Dark, Right and Wrong, Beauty and Ugliness, is to say there is, or at least should be, Balance in everything. But to let one side of the coin rule the other, to let the darkness overshadow the light, or to let the atrocities to over rule the kindness is to live out of joint, which bring me to Hamlet (naturally, though you may argue that bringing Shakespeare into nearly every conversation is, by no means, natural) who said: “Time is out of joint. O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right.”

And therein lies the paradox, or at least, the challenge. Do I set anything right through the action of my pen?  Do I Shine my Light into the darkness of these current times or do I snuff it out in support of the darkness? Do I Stand on the mountaintop and extol Liberty or do I hide in the safety of my home and shake my head ruefully? Do I proclaim Beauty in my Art with every fiber of my being, or do I bow to the pressure of sales, rating, and stats, producing something other than what would shimmer and glimmer, touch lives and speak quietly to hearts? It is a choice worth considering and a decision well worth making, though some may disagree with my logic and call me as mad as some named (or still named) Hamlet.

~Morgan~
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Beautiful Original Artwork of Hades and Persephone by: *sandara at Deviantart.com

Behind the Scenes with S.J.Hartland, #Author of #DarkFantasy The Shadow Sword Series

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S.J. Hartland is an Australian journalist, emerging epic fantasy author, and foil fencer (Cyrano club in Sydney,) who has spent too many holidays wandering around obscure castles, and is obsessed with anything medieval.  She is originally from Townsville, north Queensland, lived in Sydney for many years, and now calls the Darling Downs home.  She recently chatted with me about her Shadow Sword series and gave me some juicy behind the scenes insights!

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I wrote the early drafts of The Sword Brotherhood when I was in a very dark place. Depression, anxiety, which I’m at times prey to, struck that year. Writing became a “flow” activity which helped me fight free of overwhelming emotions.

Roaran’s journey, his suffering as his enemy’s prisoner, became an odd sort of mirror for me. His battle was as much against his past, his feelings of despair and hopelessness, as it was against his captors. My battle, too, was to find meaning and a way forward.

In that sense, Roaran’s jailer, Raggamirron, in the early drafts became a psychologist of sorts to Roaran, leading him on a path that today we might think of as “mindfulness.”

Yet in the end, most of those chapters had to go; in fact more than half disappeared into a desktop folder called “dropped chapters.”

The Sword Brotherhood, however, remains a dark book. Because it’s Roaran’s story, because it’s about his path to redemption and self-acceptance, it was always going to be the darkest in the Shadow Sword series.

Although the first in the series, The 19th Bladesman, was at its heart about fatherhood and letting go of power, redemption is a key theme across The Shadow Sword books. Characters often have to confront guilt or shame. But to balance that out, almost as a result of the darker feelings, characters can find hope or acceptance, or simply a way to go on.

Val’s path in The Last Seer King is particularly disturbing. Not only does a sorceress strip him bare emotionally and psychologically, but she forces him to confront his long-buried past. I tried to balance his despair in recounting what happened to him in a tower room centuries ago with Heath’s desire to free Val from his pain.

As Heath says, they could have been friends, with all that friendship offers. Hope. Freedom. Understanding, even comfort. A different kind of love–something I think is rarely explored.

Sometimes I wonder if these themes reassert themselves because I’m a Methodist, going back generations on both sides of the family.

I’m interested in guilt, in how it shapes us, but at the same time, I’m a deep believer that all of us can be redeemed–even Roaran, the Seer King, whose actions had to make sense even if we can’t agree with his choices. Even Genya, who acts out of anger and hurt and costs others their lives.

Her journey into darkness has only begun. Dannon, too, has important lessons to learn in the forthcoming The Sword and its Woman and the fifth book, loosely titled Broken Kingdom.

The Sword and its Woman is set largely in Quisnaf, a city of caves ruled by warrior women. I’ve tried to reverse every gender role I can think of in what is largely a Val tale. In Quisnaf, his worth is no longer measured in his ability with the sword, his classical education, or his position as a lord of Telor, but in his handsome face and his ability to provide children.

Perhaps it’s a risky book; it certainly takes Val in a new direction. He may find something he didn’t expect. But then he will lose it. Of course he will. When am I ever kind to characters?

The book also introduces one of my favourite characters, Rohane, a cursed berserker warrior of Quisnaf.

But before that, I’ve got the first in a new series coming out. Blade Lord is the story of Decallion and Sinnabar. He’s the only blade lord whose soul is not tethered to a ruling family in the distant Circle Kingdoms, which not only makes him valuable but puts him in grave danger. She’s a fura, or enforcer for the temple.

To save Decallion, Sinnabar will rebel against the temple and travel to the lawless Guildlands. She’ll risk her life and her soul. But, Decallion, cursed by magic, is destined to never remember her.

Although set in a dangerous world where the menace of the Shadow Kingdom across the fiery abyss pervades the realm, there are links in Blade Lord back to the world of Telor.

If I get it right, ultimately both series will fold together in a bizarre way.

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My 5-Star Review of The Sword Brotherhood

The Sword Brotherhood is the third book in The Shadow Sword series by Susan Hartland. Having not read book one or two, I had some research to do in order to full appreciate book three. The book opens with the lead, Roaran, a prisoner of the lead villain Archanin., who was once his ally, but now wants Roaran to lay his secrets bare. Of course, Roaran endures with determination. The dark imagery and torture is distressing, but immensely effective. I connected with Roaran, I felt the pain of his betrayal and I couldn’t wait to see him liberated.

The Sword Brotherhood combines riveting action and intensely, visceral scenes from page one! While Archanin keeps Roaran imprisoned in a castle protected by magic trying to extract dangerous information that could change the fate of the kingdoms, Dannon struggles to keep the Sword Brotherhood together. He enlists the help of a mighty sorceress, Genya, in an attempt to free Roaran and defeat Archanin, but secrets and savagery stands in their way.

Great fantasies explore the boundaries between ‘good and evil’, and offer glimpses into alternate realities, shaking us from our apathy and challenging our perceptions. The Shadow Sword series achieves this while seducing readers with elaborately crafted realms, enticing plot twists, and unexpected revelations into characters that beguile and disturb.

The Sword Brotherhood reveals a world tearing itself apart through manipulation, domination and subjugation, that was chillingly familiar.

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You can find Susan here

FACEBOOK

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Duty and love collide in this powerful epic fantasy about shattering loss, betrayal, and the price of power that will enthral fans of Game of Thrones, Blood Song and the Mistborn trilogy.  If you love dark plots, dark magic and characters with even darker secrets; pick up The 19th Bladesman, first in the sensational Shadow Sword series.

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For centuries, Roaran sought redemption. Now he can vanquish a tyrant and save a realm in chaos. But only if he cuts his last ties to humanity. Only if he returns to the one place he swore he’d never dare go again…

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A breathtaking, heart-pounding journey into darkness and the redemptive power of friendship.The darkest yet in the Shadow Sword saga, The Sword Brotherhood will enthral fans of this epic fantasy series from the author of the award-winning The 19th Bladesman.

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I want to Thank S.J. for taking time out of her busy schedule to give us some insights into her amazing story.  It certainly is a sweeping epic tale that has captivated me and I hope will intrigue you as well 🙂

 

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~Morgan~

 

 

 

The Superiority of Supporting Characters – An #Author’s Diatribe by Jake Lanum

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I’ve never liked the protagonists in stories. Too often, they are just too gosh-darn graceful in adversity, as if they’re in the eye of a hurricane. People tend to reserve their love for “the proverbial Tyrion Lannister(s) and Aragorn(s) rather than the rounded (sometimes ugly) Hound(s)” and Boromir(s) of the world. From where I sit, the measure of a man is not in effortless perfection, but his struggle against adversity. Flaws and tribulation, internal and external, is what makes characters human, fallible, and worth rooting for. My quiet love affair with supporting characters drove the development of my own debut novel, Neither Officers Nor Gentlemen, in a few key ways.

 

  • You’ll Hate the Protagonist.

The main character in Neither Officers Nor Gentlemen is a young man named Wilhelm Geier. Readers spend quite a bit of time in Will’s head, and they’ll quickly learn that he, unlike most protagonists, is terrible. This is not an iteration of revisionist Disney origin stories which cast villains as misunderstood (see: Maleficent). He is a spoiled, drunken, man-child by design. Geier has few redeeming qualities, and is patently unworthy of any love of he receives from other characters (furthermore, unworthy of reader’s admiration). I made a deliberate choice to steer readers affections away from the main character and, based on the feedback I have received so far, it has worked.

 

  • You’ll Love the Antagonist.

Professional editors and reviewers who have read the book have all favored another character, called Roo. If not in reality, she is Will’s perceived antagonist. Roo is a Cimaroon, an escaped slave-turned-insurgent, in the Spanish Main. She is Will’s opposite. He was born into privilege, coddled, and externally motivated. In contrast, her traumatic past is an unexplored certainty. In the face of slavery and living for subsistence, she proves capable and cunning. She is internally motivated, but not at the expense of generosity or warmth.

 

  • But, in my Opinion, the Supporting Cast is Peerless.

 

Personally, I like Roo as well, but you’re supposed to. At the risk of being labelled a hipster, I think that superlative adoration for Roo is almost as cliché as fandom for Katniss or Harry Potter himself. So, I wanted to take a moment to share why my prospective readers should give “Ugly,” and “Drunk Johnny,” a fair shake.

 

“Ugly,” was a green sailor, much like Will, who might’ve been called Jim before life at sea.  Ugly had been a promising farrier’s apprentice at age ten, and had an unimpeachable work ethic, but had gotten kicked in the face by a mule. He was left disfigured, and developed a crippling fear of all large animals. His apprehension thrust him towards privateering, where he hoped the only horses he’d encounter would be seahorses. The former-farrier never fails to stand his post or deliver on his assigned shipboard duties, but landfall eventually brings him face-to-face with his greatest fears. In his moment of weakness, will he continue to deliver, or will he falter?

 

“Drunk Johnny” was an apt description for the seasoned drunk and veteran seaman who sailed with Will and Ugly. He lived in an impressively uninterrupted state of inebriation. He managed to wake and stand post as scheduled, but his aptitude for such was dubious. When we meet Johnny, he escapes punishment for his shoddy work by bribing his ranking officer, a glutton, with salted pork. He was a slightly built man with gaunt features, and a ghastly dental malady that ensured that every time he spat it came out a shade of brown or red, depending on the amount of blood in it. Despite his shortcomings, both in sobriety and virtue, Drunk Johnny is the most capable and functional alcoholic you will ever hear of. On multiple occasions in the book, Johnny proves himself to be a resourceful combatant, and an astounding marksman – redeeming qualities for a privateer. Unfortunately for Johnny, privateers are subject to high rates of attrition. There is no guarantee that the next Quartermaster will be swayed with extra rations of pork – there is no promise that his failings will continue to be overlooked.

 

I have always had a thing for supporting characters in books and movies. As the writer of Neither Officers Nor Gentlemen, I fell in love with Ugly and Drunk Johnny, and I hope that you will too. These are not vacuous placeholders, but they have backstories that leave a bit to the imagination. The balance of detail and omission in these characters, to me, makes them both complex and mysterious. At the same time, I invite you to read the book, and to disagree.

Biography

Jake Lanum has worked in corporate security, investigations, and intelligence since 2011. In this capacity he was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, and eventually published an academic study in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Threat Assessment and Management. At 30, Jake endeavored to undertake law school, and to write his first book, “Neither Officers Nor Gentlemen.” While Jake remains in steadfast pursuit of his Juris Doctor, the latter made its debut in Fall of 2020.

Reedsy: https://reedsy.com/discovery/user/jake-lanum

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jakelanum/

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Synopsis

After the Spanish discovered the Americas, world powers endeavored to project naval power and occupy the promise-filled void. This gave rise to the golden age of privateering and piracy.

Neither Officers Nor Gentlemen is a fast-burning tale of maritime adventure. A cobbler’s son, Wilhelm “Will” Geier, joins an English privateer, Captain Drake, on a journey at the ends of the earth. In search of gold and glory, Will learns the trade. He hunts for subsistence in wildlands, finds allies in far-flung insurgencies, and struggles against the perils and threats looming in every navigable stream.

5- Star Review

Neither Officers Nor Gentlemen by Jake Lanum is a tale of old. A young man who feels as if everything should be given to him. It’s the year 1572, and Wilhelm Gaier is that seventeen-year-old young man. Will dreams of a lavish lifestyle and therefore purposely ruins every apprenticeship his father sets up for him. Will’s father is a cobbler, and he does work for the right Socialites to get him on a ship as a privateer.

Will struggles to grow up and mature, even with his new life. While raiding a village one night, they come into the company of Cimaroons. This is where we meet “Roo”. She is fluent in her native tongue but knows little English. She is very cunning, and Will admires her prowess skills. They became thick as thieves, inseparable as they steal from the Spaniards. Will devises a plan to help Roo.

My favorite character is Roo. She is different, in every way possible, but that does not stop her. She is herself and everyone loves her. In a world where women did not navigate the seas, let alone do anything other than be a Debutante, she gains the respect of all the men. They listen to her. She fights alongside them. She is not a sex object to them. She is one of them.

I am awarding this book 5 stars. It is well-written and well-edited. It does contain minor profanity, violence, and some nudity. The year in which our story takes place is 1572, so there are subjects like slavery and how people of color were treated, which could make this book inappropriate for young or immature readers. Being a sailor myself, I enjoyed this book and recommend it to mature readers who love a historical piracy novel. Who doesn’t like pirates?

REVIEWED BY

Nikki Libby at Discovery Reedsy
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I would very much like to thank Jake for taking the time to share his story and his insights with BnV.  Its always a delight to meet new authors and share their books!
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~Morgan~

Rose-hued Blush- #Poetry of the #naturalworld

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Sweetest lush Tranquility

Rose-hued blush of Serenity

Silent in the rising storm

Peaceful Balm in which to conform

Hush of breathless stillness be

Sanctified and forever free

Whisper ceaselessly

In me.

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~Morgan ~

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Original Photograph found on Pinterest. Credit Gratefully Acknowledged to the Original Photographer.  ~Thank You ~

 

#YAFantasy #BookReview #BookRecommendation via #BookBub

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I am so Blessed and Delighted by this amazing review of Dark Fey The Reviled, I simply had to share it with you 🙂

If you’re looking for a Fey fantasy book with a well rounded blend of good and evil, all warped into one climatic adventure… then look no further than The Reviled, by Cynthia A. Morgan. It’s the first book in a series, and I look forward to reading the next books in the set! This author has been on my to read list for some time, and now that I’ve dove in, I’m a little disappointed in myself to have taken so long to pick up one of her books!
The characters in this book are well developed, especially the main character Ayla. I really like her. She has a kind heart and a brave soul. Being a particularly gifted Fey of the light, she’s been blessed with sight that goes beyond that of the average Fey. She can feel the presence of those around her on a different level, her telepathy is unique and her magic runs deep. She’s been given the job of watching over the young Fey, as to do her part in protecting them from those of the darkness and shadows.
You see, there’s another dimension that contains the Dark Fey and in the protection of the shadows they lurk, waiting to snatch up the young Fey and turn them to their dark side. But what happens when they take a Fey of the Light that is a bit older than usual, who is stubborn and possesses a certain incomparable strength?? Gairynzvl is what happens, and he’s possibly my favorite character. He spent a lifetime being tortured and forced to perform acts of unspeakable evil. However, his determination to return the light cannot and will not be brushed aside.
Gairynzvl went behind the backs of the Dark Fey Legion, and found a way to access Ayla. He watched her for months from beyond the shadows, feeling her power, and longing for her help. One night he crossed a portal and surprised a frightened and ignorant Ayla. She’d known she was being watched and followed all along. She’d felt his presence and known that he wasn’t a threat to her, yet brought with him great danger. Together, and with the help of Ayla’s friend, they worked their taxing magic and fought hard to bring his presence back to the light, but at what cost??
The Reviled offered sacrifice, love, battle, and heart thumping action. It has it all, and I highly recommend it to all fantasy readers!
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Thank You Didi Oviatt for an amazing review.  I’ll be smiling all weekend!
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~Morgan~

Unity – #Thoughts for #ChallengingTimes-#Motivation for #Harmony

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“Think of now, what the universe is, millions of galaxies, and among them is our little planet.  For it is here and only here that we are working out our destiny.  We all exist in the same atmosphere, why then do we separate and distinguish? Always striving against each other for power and supremacy?

The Harmony of being is when we feel the suffering of every creature in our own hearts.

Are we not all Earthlings? Each and every one of us? Each person, animal, tree, ocean, rock, insect.” –  Unity*

How do we love? What stirs our spirit? Where can we create Unity?

These days have become so dark, so full of hate, so full of suspicion.  How do we breathe in a world where each breath is open for criticism and each action can cause offense?  Do we walk through the pages of our lives, writing each chapter while oblivious to all but ourselves?

Are we able to look into the face of another and see ourselves? Can we feel the pain of another without knowing them?

Do we hide in the oppressive shadows darkening the world or do we look beyond for a glimmer of light?  Do we step courageously into the fray and quietly offer an alternative or do we walk away and close our eyes?

Does the light of a single candle truly change the world?  I say it can.  It Does, but only when I hold a candle, and you hold a candle; when we share the glimmers of our candles with those around us and they share theirs with still more.  Then, the shadows fall away.  When we hold our lights up in the gloom, the darkness is broken.

But it is a choice.

Daily. Purposefully Made.

It is Action and Reaction. It is Yin and Yang.

Black and white.

Love or hate.

These are but a choice.

Daily. Purposefully Made.

Give or Take.

Act or Watch.

Harmony or Conflict.

How will you choose?

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“Maybe if we felt any loss as keenly as we felt the death of one close to us – human history would be a lot less bloody.” – Riker- Star Trek Next Generation

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* Learn More about UNITY

~Morgan~
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Beautiful Photograph found at: webmd.com, Pinterest.com and by Elena Shumalova